Sports teacher Glenn Laureys has won the Unibet Poker Belgian Championship Main Event on home soil for a career-best cash of €34,614. The 31-year-old from Antwerp beat a tough field of 419 entries to become the third Belgian to win the €550 tournament.
The 2019 Unibet Poker Belgian Championship took place at Casino Blankenberge from August 29 to September 1 and featured a total of eight tournaments.
Laureys, who was chip leader going into the final table, beat Dutch player Justin Herboldt heads-up to win the title. The massive first prize dwarfs all his previous cashes, including the €3,114 he won for finishing 12th at the Championships three years ago. Before Sunday’s triumph, his live tournament winnings totaled less than €10,000. In addition to his cash prize, Laureys was also awarded the coveted Unibet Poker Belgian Championship trophy.
Laureys, Herboldt and third-placed finisher Dennis Kleinleugemors cut a deal to lock up their prize money and leave €4,000 and the trophy to play for. Heads-up play was brief and after some 20 minutes, Herboldt shoved with AQ. He was in good shape after hitting top pair on the AJ2 flop but Laureys held KJ and also paired up. When a second jack appeared on the turn, Laureys took a surprise lead with trips.
Laureys, who teaches the racket sport “padel” and was cheered on at the final table by his girlfriend, said: “I feel great. My friend asked me to come and play – he said he believed in me, so we did a 50/50 deal. He runs a poker room in Antwerp, and I used to play a lot there when I was younger but I don’t have much time now. My heads-up opponent was really good throughout but I’m happy with every spot I played. I felt comfortable and wanted to play aggressively.”
Runner-up Herboldt, who took €28,768 for second place, has also had a previous deep run at the Unibet Poker Belgian Championship when he finished 20th in 2017.
Final table results:
1 GLENN LAUREYS, Belgium, €34,614
2 JUSTIN HERBOLDT, Netherlands, €28,768
3 DENNIS KLEINLEUGEMORS, Netherlands, €22,598
4 GAONE LEANDRO, Belgium, €13,310
5 KAMEL DJEMAI, France, €10,230
6 BART VAN DIJK, Netherlands, €7,870
7 BENJAMIN TRUYENS, Belgium, €6,300
8 BART VANDEWEGHE, Belgium, €5,040
9 WILLIAM HENS, Netherlands, €4,030
A total of 55 players took a share of the €209,500 prize pool with a min cash worth €1,070. Among those who made the money were media influencer Dehlia de Jong and former November Niner Pierre Neuville. Others who competed included defending champion Christophe De Meulder, well-known Belgian actor Tom Dingenen, star of the TV series Dertigers, plus two-time Unibet Open champion Mateusz Moolhuizen, two-time Belgian Poker Challenge winner Arne Coulier and Unibet Ambassadors Charlotte Van Brabander and David Vanderheyden.
Side event results
It was a battle of the Ellens in the €80 buy-in #QueenRules Ladies event with Ellen Smets and Ellen Van Der Sijpt, both from Belgium, chopping the popular event to take €610 each. There were 30 entries in all, creating a €2,100 prize pool. Valentin Derinck from France won the NL Deepstack event for €7,280 after beating a 141-strong field while Belgian player Olivier Janssens won the NL Turbo for €2,625. Frederik De Lie took down the €60 Progressive Knockout tournament for €1,210.
Unibet Poker Belgian Championship history
The inaugural Unibet Poker Belgian Championship took place in 2016 when Belgium’s Fabrice Lestrade beat a 407-entry field to win the top prize of €40,107. In 2017 Heinrich Pauker beat a 457-strong field to win the Main Event for €42,325. Last year’s champion was Belgian star Christophe De Meulder who won €38,290.
Nataly Sopacuaperu, Unibet Open’s Head of Events and Sponsorship, said: “It’s been an amazing event in Blankenberge this weekend and massive congratulations to our new champion Glenn Laureys. The Unibet Poker Belgian Championship is a hugely popular event and we were delighted to see such a huge turnout. We now hope to see lots of UPBC players at our next event, Unibet Open Malta, which takes place from September 11-15 at the Intercontinental Hotel in St Julian’s, Malta.”